ADHD Success Story Shares His Study Tips
It really does take all kinds to make the world go ‘round, and with so many different personality types, including those with more challenges than others, studying isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. I was reminded of this recently when browsing reddit and coming across a thread that was started by a person with severe ADHD who somehow managed to have a 3.7 GPA in spite of having such an extreme version of the diagnosis that he received accommodations from his university. To aid others with ADHD, he shared his tips of the most successful ways he’d managed to combat the condition. Here are some highlights from the piece.
“Do not study in your room, you idiot. It might be quiet, it might be comfortable, but it has everything that you like doing and will be full of things to easily distract yourself.”
“Get the procrastination and fun things out of the way FIRST. This might seem counterintuitive, but it will save you. Really want to play videogames? Play for one hour. One hour. Set a timer. Let yourself watch one episode of Netflix, read for 30 minutes, whatever. Do not screw yourself over by rushing so that you can have fun.”
“For those of you with smartphones, it is the bane of our existence. You check it randomly, get lost in the apps, lose an hour of time. Ideally you would leave it in your room, but let’s be realistic, what if you get a text? There is an incredibly easy fix. Plug it in, and put it at least 6 feet away from you. Put it on a windowsill, a table, whatever. Make it take some effort to reach … it works for me to just put it out of arm’s reach on my table. Make it so that it takes cognitive choice to look at it. I will reflexively pick up my phone without thinking about it, and it will screw me over. This will save you massively. Alternatively, put it under your textbooks. Make it so that you can’t thoughtlessly pick it up.”
“Ideally, you’d leave your computer in your room, but again, not realistic. You need a computer for a variety of things. If you aren’t using the internet, turn off the wireless capability. It allows you to choose to go on, but again, requires some amount of effort in order to avoid instinctive clicking. If you are using the internet … This is simple: disable your bookmarks toolbar. Just. Disable it. You can go to any site you want, but it’s not just one click away. I instinctively click reddit when I open my browser without thinking about it. This makes it so that you cannot go to any site you want without choosing to.”
“Distracted by sounds constantly? Don’t want to look like an idiot for putting in earplugs that will invariably get lost? In-ear earbuds. Even better than earplugs, don’t make you look like an idiot, and you might have them anyway. … Like listening to music, but it’s too distracting. Download the acoustic versions. The words are what screw you over. Alternatively, look into foreign music that you like. I found J-Pop to be awesome. I can’t understand it, so it doesn’t screw with me.”
“Highlighters. Use them. … Use one color for one part of a fact and another. Like, one for what something is called, and another for what it is. For example, The mitochondria is the ‘powerhouse of the cell.’ It helps. A lot.”
“Talk to yourself if you’re studying alone. No. Really. Talk aloud when you’re reading through things you need to know. Look up at the ceiling and repeat the process you just read about. When you talk, you don’t have 30 thoughts to fight, you have one steady thought coming out of your mouth.”
“Do not study with more than one friend at a time, and they HAVE to be academically focused. No studying with someone you go drinking with. You will sidetrack the conversation, and you will end up talking about the history of Portugal.”
“Associate a weird mental image with things to remember. Holy. Shit. This. Works. How did I remember that Simpson was the guy who connected paleoarcheology with evolution? I thought about Homer Simpson in that one episode where he went back in time and [messed] up evolution. How did I remember that Cl-TBDMS was the chemical that turns an alcohol group into a protecting group? I imagined a bunch of Tuberculosis (TB) suffering D&D playing Dungeon MasterS who are slowly dying of chlorine (Cl) gas as they are trying to protect their alcohol. It can be as weird as anything, but it works. Just seeing it isn’t enough, imagining it is what gets it in your head.”
“Put your phone in your backpack’s most annoying pocket when you are attending lecture. Make it an effort to retrieve it.”
“If you surf reddit, do not make any comments or posts in the days leading up to an exam. Seriously. There should be an extension on RES that lets you disable posting or commenting for yourself, because you will end up looking at reddit more frequently in order to see if anyone commented or if you have an orange envelope.”
While the individual who shared these study tips admittedly has ADHD, the tips could apply to anyone. That’s because they’re really good ideas, and they speak to many of the dilemmas that the modern student faces. Do you have any tricks you’d like to add to those above? If so, feel free to do so in the comments section.